It's not even October yet and it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least it was this week at the Toys R Us in Times Square when the media gathered to hear about hot toys, consumer spending and the return of FAO Schwarz.
FAO Schwarz will be back for the holidays with 10 temporary stores featuring classic toys. Toys R Us bought the brand last year, including the flagship store on 5th Ave. in New York. That store has been remodeled and FAO Schwarz departments now reside within Toys R Us stores. Whether any of the temporary locations remain open after the holidays remains to be seen, but Toys R Us Chairman and CEO Jerry Storch intimated keeping one or two FAO Schwarz stores around is a possibility.
Two locations are already open in Tyson's Galleria in McLean, Va. and The Mall in Chestnut Hill in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The remaining 2,500 square-foot stores will open in upscale shopping areas before Black Friday. Between these and the 600 temporary Toys R Us stores also opening for the holidays, there's a lot of locations to snag the season's hot toy, whatever that it is.
It's too early to predict the must-have item for of the season but according to Google, early searches are already revealing trends as people search for things like electronics (including computers and mobile devices), toys like the Nerf Stampede and Mattel's Sing-a-Ma-Jigs -- this year's singing plush toy.
Toys R Us isn't too worried about the economy or consumer sentiment. "Last year the sentiment was generally negative, but it turned out to be a very good year... (and a) great Black Friday," said Storch.
That's right, we're talking about Black Friday already. "Does Christmas start earlier every year? I know of no evidence to support that," said Storch. "In the U.S., we can strongly rely on the fact it starts with fervor on Black Friday." And this Black Friday there will be a lot more locations available to shop.
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